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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor points to two errors by judge in case of family tragedy in Yauco



Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff


Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Tuesday that the judicial management that culminated in last week’s family massacre in Yauco had two flaws.


“First is the amount of that bail that was imposed at the rule 6 hearing, a very low bail for what the magistrate who heard the case had before her because we were talking about a repeat offender,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “A person who had already violated law 54 in the past. And that he was obviously a dangerous person and we’re talking about $5,000 bail, I mean, that cries before the eyes of God for someone like that person.”


“Second, the other failure was the failure to order him to have an electronic shackle when the Office of Pretrial Services had provided a report recommending that he be ordered to have an electronic shackle,” Pierluisi continued. “It is the responsibility of the judge who hears any case to review the report submitted to the Pretrial Services Office, and in this case because we are talking about a repeat offender. There was no discretion; you had to order the one with that electronic shackle. Those two failures are obvious to me.”


And regarding the responsibility of the prosecutors who attended the hearings, Pierluisi insisted that the responsibility lies with the judge who is hearing the case.


“And there is no discretion there, it is not even a question of asking for it, it is that I basically had to review that report from the Office of Pretrial Services and include the electronic shackle,” he said.


“So you think the prosecutor did well?” he was asked.


“I’m not going to be judging,” the governor answered. “Yes, I said, and I am going to repeat it, in a case like this, in any case, of domestic violence, where there has been a ruling of justice, all branches have to conduct a self-reflection, the judicial branch of course, and now we have seen that, for example, the courts administrator has expressed himself very accurately on this matter.”


“Meanwhile, the Department of Justice, well, surely they should listen to those recordings and if they have to take any action, they will take it and there is always room for improvement, but that’s what I’m going to say,” Pierluisi said. “It’s not that I’m here basically praising neither of the two branches, neither of them. The police must evaluate what they did, in case there was something that was not done, that should have been done. Justice must evaluate the performance of the prosecutor in charge of everything that happened in this case.”


On Jan. 24, Wilfredo Hiram Santiago Figueroa killed his ex-partner Linnette Morales Vázquez, his ex-mother-in-law, Lizzette Vázquez Vélez, 51 years old, and the ex-partner’s brother, Luis Miguel Morales Vázquez, 28 years old, in the Caimito sector of Yauco.


The triple slaying committed by Santiago Figueroa occurred after a court hearing for domestic violence was suspended. The subject took his life at his brother’s residence.

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